Superstar jockey Frankie Dettori hopes he can finally break his Melbourne Cup hoodoo.
The Italian rider has returned for his 16th attempt at Australia’s most famous race in 24 years.
Dettori rides defending Cup champion Almandin for owner, and the jockey’s good friend, Lloyd Williams who has won the race a record five times.
“It’s one of the best races in the word,” Dettori said.
“I’d like to put my name on that famous list of jockeys.”
Dettori has ridden the winners of most of the world’s greatest races, but the closest he has come to claiming the Melbourne Cup was his second on Max Dynamite in 2015.
“To me the Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest races in the world and I haven’t won,” Dettori said.
“It would mean a lot to break this hoodoo.”
The 46-year-old won Europe’s biggest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, for a record fifth time a month ago.
He picked up the ride on Almandin following three-time Cup winner Damien Oliver’s suspension.
Williams has six runners in this year’s Cup: Almandin, Johannes Vermeer, Bondi Beach, US Army Ranger, Gallante and Rekindling.
His construction boss mate Phil Mehrten has stakes in seven Cup horses; all of Williams’ horses bar Gallante as well as Marmelo and Wall of Fire.
As of Cup eve, Almandin has been displaced as Cup favourite by English horse Marmelo.
Hughie Morrison, who is trying to become the first English trainer to win the Cup, doesn’t plan to give jockey Hugh Bowman riding instructions.
“I think in a 23-runner race you just let the jockey make up his mind as the race unfolds.”
A record-equalling 11 horses trained in the northern hemisphere are in the field including 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite, one of three runners for Irish trainer Willie Mullins.
Whether Dettori gets to show off his trademark flying dismount a few minutes after 3pm on Tuesday remains to be seen.
“The star jump is the easy part,” he said.
“Winning is the hardest part, so fingers crossed.”